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Publication numberUS3895241 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 15, 1975
Filing dateMay 6, 1974
Priority dateMay 6, 1974
Publication numberUS 3895241 A, US 3895241A, US-A-3895241, US3895241 A, US3895241A
InventorsCooper David
Original AssigneeInt Rectifier Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
LED coupled switching circuits
US 3895241 A
Abstract
LED coupled switching circuits are provided with at least two solid state light-emitting source devices which activate corresponding light-responsive switching devices to produce outputs related to the state of excitation of the solid state light sources. At least one of the light-responsive switching devices in the output circuit is connected in Darlington type arrangements with a power transistor.
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5x901 ma COPY Umted States Patent [191 [111 3,895,241

Cooper 1 July 15, 1975 [54] LED COUPLED SWITCHING CIRCUITS 3,708,672 1/ 1973 Marinkovic 250/551 X 3,842,259 10 1974 B [75] Inventor: David Cooper, Rancho Palos mnmg 307/311 X Verdes, Calif. v Primary Examiner-Siegfried H. Grimm [73] Assrgnee: International Rectifier Corporation, Attorney Agent, pirm ostrolenk Faber, Gerb &

Los Angeles, Calif. Soft-en [22] Filed: May 6, 1974 [21] Appl. No.2 466,962 [57] ABSTRACT LED coupled switching circuits are provided with at U-S- Cl. least two state Source devices 250/209; 250/211 J; 307/117 which activate corresponding light-responsive switch- [5 (:L. devices to produce outputs related to the state of Fleld of Search 1, 1 excitation of the olid state sources least one 250/551, 552, 208, 209, 211 J of the light-responsive switching devices in the output circuit is connected in Darlington type arrangements [56] References Clted with a power transistor.

UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,693,027 9/1972 Garaway 307/311 x 8 Clams 2 Draw F'gures LED COUPLED SWITCHING CIRCUITS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a switching circuit'for producing an output signal in response to one or more input signals wherein the input signals are fullyisolated from the output devices through the use of light emitting devices which operate light-responsive switching circuits.

The use of optical isolation techniques is well known in the control circuit art, wherein a light-emitting device of any desired construction is optically coupled to a light-responsive device such as a photodiode, phototransistor, photothyristor or the like.

In the past, the output switching circuit containing the light-responsive device has incorporated compound-connected transistors in the form generally known as a Darlington type circuit, where two transistors are connected in a compound connection to form a single three terminal unit with the power output stage having extremely low distortion. These circuits, however, have been used simply for on-off switching arrangements and, where more than one such circuit would be desired, one skilled in the art would duplicate the entire circuit to form the necessary parallel stages.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a novel LED coupled switching circuit is provided wherein a plurality of light-emitting devices are used as optical inputs to a corresponding plurality of light-sensitive devices such as phototransistors or photothyristors, or the like, where the plural photosensitive devices in the output circuit contain a single compound connection of Darlington arrangement in order to produce output signals related to the state of the input signals applied to Note that'terminals I1 and 12 can be a common terminal but they are preferably separated if the user of the circuit wishes to have isolation between the single inputs to the light-emitting diodes 20 and 21.

The light-emitting diode 20 is then optically coupled to phototransistor 22=which is an NPN transistor and similarly light-emitting diode 21 is optically coupled to NPN phototransistor 23."Note that devices 20 and 22 may be'contained in a common housing shown schematically by dotted lines 24, while devices 21 and 23 may also be contained in a common housing schematically shown by dotted lines 25.

A main power transistor which is also an NPN transistor then has its collector connected to terminal 14 and its emitter connected through diode 31 to terminal 16. Note that the emitter of phototransistor 22 is connected to terminal 15. Any desired driving circuit can now be connected to the terminals 10 to 16 in order to obtain outputs at terminals 15 and 16 related to various inputs at terminals 10 to 13.

The basic circuit configuration of phototransistor 23 which is asignal transistor and of power transistor 30 is that of the conventional Darlington pair where, however, the signal transistor 23 is a light-sensitive transistor.

The circuit differs from the conventional Darlington pair by the provision of the phototransistor 22 connected to the junction between the emitter of transistor 23 and the base of transistor 30.

One manner in which the basic circuit of FIG. I can be driven is schematically illustrated in FIG. I by the the plural input LED devices. Thus, common components are used in the output signal to avoid the need for duplicating a plurality of separate Darlington circuit arrangements, one for each of the input LED devices.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 shows a diagram of the circuit of the invention wherein two light-sensitive transistors are provided to drive an output circuit which contains a common basic Darlington pair.

FIG. 2 is a circuit diagram of a secondembodiment of the invention wherein one of the light-sensitive switching devices in the output circuit is a photosensitive thyristor, and wherein the input signals to the lightemitting devices are in pulse form.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring first to FIG. 1, there is illustrated a circuit diagram of a plurality of semiconductor devices which can be separate devices interconnected on a common circuit board, or which could be a hybrid arrangement of semiconductors formed in one or more common wafers. Whether the device is made of discrete components, or in hybrid or in integrated circuit fashion, however, the device will have seven terminals, 10 to 16, wherein terminals 10 to 13 are input terminals, while terminals l4, l5 and 16 are output terminals and are connectable to various power supplies and the like.

Terminals l0 and 11 are connected directly across a light-emitting diode 20 while terminals 12 and 13 are connected directly across a light-emitting diode 21.

connection of the bistable multivibrator 35 having outputs A and B to the terminals 10 to 13. The bistable multivibrator 35 can then be switched from logic output positive to the logic output B positive by appropriate' input signals to the bistable terminals 36 and 37 frornjconventional logic circuitry.

Assuming that the bistable is in logic output A positive, the light-emitting diode 21 would be energized,

thereby to apply light energy to the light-sensitive base of signal phototransistor 23. This then turns on phototransistor 23 (assuming that appropriate biasing voltages are connected between terminals 14, I5 and 16) and the main power transistor 30 will then also switch on. Note that the light-emitting diode 20 is not energized' so that the transistor 22 does not conduct.

If now the'bistable multivibrator switches to a B position output, the light-emitting diode 20 would switch on, thereby to energize the light-sensitive base of phototransistor 22. The phototransistor 22 would then turn on,'tliereby being capable, for example, of reducing the bias on the base of transistor 30 to turn transistor 30 offl Any number of various kinds of driving circuits for operating the basic circuit component configuration of FIG. '1 will now suggest'themselves to those skilled in the an.

It will be noted that the circuit of FIG. 1 contains a diode 31 between the emitter of transistor 30 and the terminal 16. The basic circuit configuration can operate satisfactorily without the diode 31. However, the diode 31 provides certain additional advantages to the circuit user. Thus, depending upon the potential at which the emitter of phototransistor 22 is connected, the diode 31 can back-bias the emitter-to-base junction of power transistor 30 and thus minimize power dissipation in transistor 30 if the emitter-to-base junction of transistor 30 exhibited an avalanche condition.

Referring next to FIG. 2, similar components are used in the circuit of FIG.2 to those in the circuit of FIG. 1 and again these components could be developed in either a discrete fashion, a hybrid fashion or in an integrated circuit'fashion. Thus, a common-circuitis provided with six terminals 10, ll, 12, l3, l4 and 16. Note that terminal of FIG. 1 is not used in the configuration of FIG. 2.

emitting diode while terminals 12 and 13 are connected to light-emitting diode 21. Further, the lightemitting diode 21 is optically coupled to phototransistor 23 and the terminals 14 and 16 are connected to the collector and emitter electrodes of power transistor 30.

The basic component configuration of FIG. 2 differs from that of FIG. 1 in that a photosensitive thyristor 40 and diode 42 are used in place of transistor22 of FIG.

. I 10 The terminals 10 and ,11 are again connected to light- The circuit of FIG. 2 operates as a pulse turn-on I pulse turn-off circuit arrangement when appropriate pulse sources are connected to terminals 10 to 13 and an appropriate biasing circuit and load circuit are connected to terminals 14 and 16. In the circuit of FIG. 2, a first pulse applied to terminals 12 and 13 causes application of power from a source connected at terminal 14 to a load connected at terminal '16. A second pulse connected to terminals 10 and 11 will remove the power from terminal 16. 1 In operation, when a suitable pulse is applied to terminals 10 and II of FIG. 2, the light-emitting diode 20 emits light to enable the firing or conduction of photosensitive thyristor 40. The conduction of photothyristor 40 supplies base drive to power transistor so that power may now be transferred from: suitable voltage supplies connected to terminal 14 to a load connected to terminal 16. Moreover, once the photothyristor 40 is fired, it latches on,thereby holding transistor30 in its conductivecondition so long as thyristor 40 conducts. Thus, even though the signal applied to terminals 10 and 16 is a pulse (schematically illustrated in FIG. 2), the thyristor 40 continues to conduct after the pulse decays to maintain power transistor 30 conductive between its collector and emitter electrodes.

In order to shut off the power transistor 30, a pulse signal is connected to terminals 12 and 13 as schematically illustrated. This pulse signal creates a light pulse from LED 21 which activates signalphototransistor 23 in the Darlington pair. This causes transistor 23 to conduct between its collector and emitter terminals, thereby bypassing the diode 42 and photothyristor 4,0 for a sufficient time to allow the photothyristor 40 to recover its forward blocking capability. It should be noted that the offpulses applied to terminalsi12 and 13 'the main-power circuit between terminals *beeom'es rionconductive.

Any number of various circuit configurations which can .use the'basic circuit of FIG. 2 willfurther suggest themselves to those skilled in the art.

'Although thislinvention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments; it should be understood that many variations and modifications will now be obvious to those skilled in the art and, therefore, the

scope of this invention is to be limited, not by the specific disclosure herein, but only by the appended claims. I 1 i I claim: t u

l. A switching circuit comprising, in combination: first and second light-emitting devices having first and second sets of terminals; first and second photoresponsive 'semiconductordevices optically coupled to said first and second light-emitting devices respectively; said first and second photoresponsive semiconductor devices being operable betweenconductive and nonconductive conditions in response to light output variations from their said respective first and second lightemitting devices; said first photoresponsive semiconductor device comprising a first phototransistor having emitter and collector electrodes; and a power transistor having emitter, collector and base electrodes; said first phototransistor and said power transistor connected in a Darlington configuration, whereby'their said collector electrodes are connected' to one another, and whereby the emitter electrode of said first phototransisto'r is connected to the base of said power transistor; said second photoresponsive semiconductor device having first and second electrodes connected in series with said collector and emitter electrodes of said first phototransistor; said first electrode of said second photoresponsive semiconductor device connected to said base electrode of said power transistor.

2. The circuit of claim 1' wherein said second photoresponsive semiconductor device is a second phototransistor.

3. The circuit of claim 1 wherein said second photo- I responsive semiconductor device is a thyristor.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3693027 *Sep 30, 1971Sep 19, 1972Westinghouse Electric CorpZero crossing detector
US3708672 *Mar 29, 1971Jan 2, 1973Honeywell Inf SystemsSolid state relay using photo-coupled isolators
US3842259 *Sep 24, 1973Oct 15, 1974Bell Telephone Labor IncHigh voltage amplifier
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4319873 *Apr 12, 1979Mar 16, 1982American Stabilis, Inc.Flame detection and proof control device
US4320388 *Jul 15, 1980Mar 16, 1982Westinghouse Electric Corp.Two wire optical data communication system
US4349776 *Oct 20, 1980Sep 14, 1982Bell Telephone Laboratories, IncorporatedDC-to-DC Converters utilizing FET devices
US4352656 *Sep 21, 1979Oct 5, 1982American Stabilis, Inc.Gas appliance control device
US4715051 *Apr 12, 1985Dec 22, 1987Giardina Joseph JElectronic potentiometer
US4857762 *Oct 28, 1987Aug 15, 1989Siemens AktiengesellschaftDigital 2-of-3 selection and output circuit
US5170059 *Oct 31, 1990Dec 8, 1992Sullair CorporationOptically coupled fast turn off load switch drive
US6486725 *Dec 8, 2000Nov 26, 2002Siemens Energy & AutomationProgrammable logic controller method, system and apparatus
US6555935 *May 18, 2000Apr 29, 2003Rockwell Automation Technologies, Inc.Apparatus and method for fast FET switching in a digital output device
WO1982001448A1 *Sep 24, 1981Apr 29, 1982Electric Co WesternDc-to-dc converters utilizing fet devices
Classifications
U.S. Classification307/117, 250/552, 250/208.4, 250/551, 327/514, 327/575
International ClassificationH03K17/79, H03K17/795
Cooperative ClassificationH03K17/7955, H03K17/79
European ClassificationH03K17/795B, H03K17/79
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 9, 1992ASAssignment
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORPORATION A DE CORP.
Free format text: RELEASE BY SECURED PARTY OF A SECURITY AGREEMENT RECORDED AT REEL 4811 FRAME 0260.;ASSIGNOR:CHRYSLER CAPITAL CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:006147/0448
Effective date: 19920521
Feb 1, 1988AS02Assignment of assignor's interest
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORPORATION, 1521 GRAND AV
Effective date: 19880107
Owner name: SILICON POWER CUBE CORPORATION, A CA. CORP.
Feb 1, 1988ASAssignment
Owner name: SILICON POWER CUBE CORPORATION, A CA. CORP.
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORPORATION, 1521 GRAND AVENUE, EL SEGUNDO, CA. 90245, A DE. CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004833/0872
Effective date: 19880107
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORPORATION, 1521 GRAND AVENUE, EL SEGUNDO, CA. 90245, A DE. CORP.;REEL/FRAME:4833/872
Owner name: SILICON POWER CUBE CORPORATION
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORPORATION, 1521 GRAND AVENUE, EL SEGUNDO, CA. 90245, A DE. CORP.;REEL/FRAME:004833/0872
Oct 26, 1987ASAssignment
Owner name: CHRYSLER CAPITAL CORPORATION
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTERNATIONAL RECTIFIER CORPORATION A CORP. OF DE;REEL/FRAME:004811/0260
Effective date: 19870919